BARCELONA, Spain - Shot putter Ashinia Miller will be the first Jamaican athlete to contest a final in the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium on another blistering hot day here in Barcelona after he threw an automatic qualifying 19.71m in this morning’s preliminaries, on his final attempt.
Emmanuel Onyia, the other Jamaican in the event failed to make a mark, fouling all three throws including his first than landed over the 18m mark and complained of niggling injuries to his fingers and back afterwards.
Miller’s Calabar High team mate Fedrick Dacres also made it to the discus finals after Tuesday's first round.
Miller who is the National Junior Record holder with a personal best 20.15m set in January has developed a habit of leaving things late and it is not because he is tardy or has a flair for the dramatics, it just happens that way.
Minutes after the end of the morning's qualifying that started at 9:10am (3:10am Jamaica time) he reminded journalists that all his important throws this season has come on his final attempt.
"Every event this year my best throw has come on the final attempt," he said, "I made the CARIFTA team on the last throw, got the winning throw there in the final round and again at Junior Trials, I made this team on the final throw and now this."
Given his history this year, Miller, who is in his second World Junior Championships, is not discounting his chances of medaling as he says he has been improving with each passing round in event competition.
This morning he opened with 18.56m then improved by a small increment to 18.58m on the second attempt and then after watching Chile's Jose Joaquin Ballivin celebrate with a 19.18m throw just before his final attempt, exploded for his big throw, much to the delight of coach Julian Robinson who watched from the stands.
"God sent me here for a reason," he stated,"I am very confident I can medal this afternoon." and explained that in practice he has been keeping up with the top athletes in the competition and throwing over 20.00m.
New Zealand's shot put sensation Jako Gill is the favorite here to defend his title won in Moncton, Canada two years ago and set a championship record 21.50m in his only throw so far while Australian Damien Birkinhead also went over 20.00m.